Thursday, June 11, 2009

Though I Didn’t Play by the Rules, This Is Still My Seat!

Registration begins June 11, 2009 at 7:00 AM in the IM Room --- from agenda information of the Western PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

There is an interesting (and frustrating) phenomenon which happens each year in the W PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church at its gathering at Grove City College in Grove City PA.

This has been confirmed as taking place yet this year by a friend who is attending the event. I am not attending though even retired elders in full connection are expected to be in attendance. My blood pressure cannot tolerate what goes on there, including what is about to be discussed.

It is about the registration procedure. The hour is always officially set as to when the delegates can enter the IM area, pick up name tags, and then claim their seat by writing their names on the table tags where they will be seated for the plenary sessions of the conference.

But there are some very egotistical and selfish persons who feel the rule on the opening hour of registration does not apply to them.

I always tried to be early in line before the doors opened in order to get one of the seats which better accommodated my long legs (I am 6’2”) than did most in a rather cramped area of chairs and tables.

I was willing to pay the price to get my preferred seat – namely, get up very early, drive over a hundred miles, be at the door well before 6:00 AM (which was opening time years ago), and then proceed to claim my seat.

One year I drove through a heavy rain storm, was nearly involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, was first in line when the doors opened at 6:00 AM for registration, and when I went to claim my seat, I saw many names already appearing on the table tags! This meant the seats were already taken although registration was only about 5 minutes or so “officially” underway!

I admit to being quite angered by this – a number of persons (most were preachers) had already placed their names and names of some of their friends on the table tags well ahead of the announced hour in which registration was to begin.

I wrote a letter to the bishop, cabinet members, and head of the Sessions Committee protesting this disregard for the rule on the time for registration to commence. We were always reminded that NO ONE would be permitted into the registration area before the opening of the doors at the stated hour!

I even offered to go in before the doors opened and blot out all names on the table tags with an indelible marker. After that enjoyable experience I would go out in the hallway and take my place in line with my brothers and sisters who respected the conference rule regarding the opening hour for registration.

My offer was refused as I knew it would be due to the fact that too many “church politicians” were involved in this violation who were part of the bishop’s “inner circle.” And you think the Wasington DC brand of politics is bad -- don't ever be down wind when the church brand blows your way -- the DC brand smells like a rose by way of comparison!

Obviously in W Pennsylvania there are pastors who totally forget that honesty, high ethical standards, and respect for the W PA Conference rules on registration apply to them as well as to all the others -- no exceptions! Earnestly pray that your church isn’t plagued with one of those characters – such a person will prove very quickly to be an obnoxious liability and not an asset to your church!

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. --- Philippians 2:3, 4

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